Village History

Weston, Staffordshire

The village is 4.6 miles (7.4 km) north east of the town of Stafford, and 9.5 miles (15.3 km) south west of Uttoxeter. The village of Gayton is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) to the north east. The nearest railway station is at Stafford. The nearest main roads are the A51 which skirts the north eastern boundary of the village.

The 2011 census recorded a population of 965 in 422 Households. The parish comes under the Stafford Non-Metropolitan District.

The ancient village and parish of Weston was a forest clearing on the outskirts and was part of the Chartley Estate which was sold off in 1904. The high ground meant that the surrounding land was well drained with a good water supply from the nearby River Trent. This small settlement was also located at the intersection of the London – Lichfield – Chester road and the Shrewsbury – Stafford – Derby road (the current A51 and A518 respectively). The road from Stafford originally forded the Trent. In the late 18th Century a flood washed away the bridge there. It was later replaced by a single arch stone bridge in the 19th century.
Domesday Book
Weston on Trent is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. In the survey the village is recorded as being as the holding of one of King William’s thegn’s named Sperri, having previously being held by a Saxon named Wulfhelm. Assets of the village were listed as half a virgāta of land. Land for one plough, one villager or villein, 3 acres of meadows. There was one Household in the village and the amont of tax per household was calculated at one-eighth of one ‘hide’. The gross taxable value of the village was calculated at 0.1 geld units, with a Value to lord of the manor in 1086 of £0.1.
Saint Andrew’s Parish Church
The Parish Church of St. Andrews was restored by George Gilbert Scott in the 1860s and by William Butterfield in the 1870s. Butterfield’s restoration revealed some of the original Norman work. The bell tower dates from the early 13th Century. The tower holds two bells; “Ave Maria” dating from 1402 and “Ann Shaw” dating from 1962. A third bell, “Katerina”, dating from 1500, can be found cracked upon the floor. The church also houses a silver communion paten dating from the early 15th Century. The Parish registers, kept by Staffordshire Record Office, date from 1581.

Notable buildings and structures
In the village, the present thatched “Manor House”, which has been used as a farm building in the past, dates from the 16th Century. In the mid 19th Century it was used as the national School and school keeper’s cottage, then as a Wesleyan Methodist meeting house until the present Methodist Church was built at the start of the 20th Century along the main London – Chester road.

Gayton, Staffordshire

Gayton is a small rural village and civil parish in Staffordshire, located approximately 1 mile from the A51 between Stone and Stafford.

Gayton, in the 2001 Census, has a population of 167 in a total of 63 households. The population has fallen from a peak of 296 in 1831, since which the population seems to have steadily decreased. This is most likely due to rural to urban migration from small villages like Gayton to bigger centres. The decline in agriculture in England is also a possible contributor to the decreasing population.

The name Gayton is believed to mean either “a primitive enclosure approached from a gate or narrow way, from the Anglo-Saxon ‘geat'” or “‘Gaegas dwelling’, derived from an Old English personal name”).

Gayton (recorded as Gaitone) was listed in the Domesday Book (1086 AD), together with nearby Amerton, in the Pirehill hundred, as having 8 households, with 10 villagers and 6 smallholders, and the Tenant-in-Chief was Earl Roger of Shrewsbury. Agriculturally, they had 4 ploughlands, 1 lord’s plough teams and 4 men’s plough teams, and had a value to lord of £1.5, with the total amount of tax assessed 0.5 geld units. The village was documented to be held by Aelmer and Alric. It was also documented to have woodland of “1 league in length and half a league in breadth”.

The Hearth Tax Assessment of 1666 documented that Gayton had 33 households liable for the payment of 48 hearths. The largest property was owned by George White who had six hearths. Seven households were deemed too poor to be able to pay the tax.

In 1851, Gayton was a ‘scattered village’, with 291 residents, and with ‘commanding views over of Sandon Column, the plantations of the Earl of Harrowby, and the picturesque ruins of Chartley Castle.’ The parish contained ‘1475 acres 2 roods 26 perches of fertile, loamy land, of which Earl Ferrers is the principal owner, and lord of the manor’.

Gayton was described in John Marius Wilson’s Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales in 1870-72 like this:
“GAYTON, a parish in the district and county of Stafford; near the river Trent and the Grand Trunk canal, 1 mile NE of Weston r. station, and 5 NE of Stafford. It has a post office under Stafford. Acres, 1, 270. Real property, £2, 833. Pop., 249. Houses, 63. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Lichfield. Value, £136.* Patron, Mrs. Mould. The church is good; and there are charities £5.”

The most significant Post-Medieval development in the Gayton area happened in the mid-nineteenth century, when the North Staffordshire Railway opened in 1848, with a stop in nearby Weston and Ingestre railway station. The station was roughly 3/4 of a mile southwest of the village, but it closed in 1963. During World War Two a Royal Observer Corps Monitoring Post was installed south of the village on Wadden Farm, and is still in good condition today. It was built to act as an early warning system for nearby Hixon Airfield.